Hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy used to treat menopausal symptoms increases women’s risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
The risk of illness is especially high for women who have had hormone therapy for more than five years.
In particular, hormone therapy, including oestrogen and progesterone or progestogen, increases the risk of breast cancer. Hormone replacement therapy with oestrogen alone also slightly increases the risk of uterine cancer.
“Risks are always assessed individually.”
Hormone replacement therapy can effectively treat menopausal symptoms. However, it is worth considering carefully whether you should opt for long-term hormone replacement therapy. With your own physician, It’s important to weigh the pluses and minuses of hormone therapy with your doctor.
After stopping hormone replacement therapy, the risk of illness returns to the normal level.
Contraceptive pills containing oestrogen and progestogen (progesterone), reduce the risk of some cancers and increase the risk of certain other cancers.
Combined oral contraceptive pills slightly increase the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer. At the same time, they reduce the risk of uterine cancer and ovarian cancer.
Risks are always assessed individually. Talk to your doctor whether there is a potential risk with using contraceptives.
Breast feeding and childbirth
Breastfeeding has been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer to some extent. The longer a woman continue breast-feeding, the better the protection that breast feeding provides.
Child birth reduces women’s risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The younger a woman is when having children, the better the protection that childbirth provides. Also, having a larger number of children also provides better protection against breast cancer.
There are also numerous other health benefits from breast-feeding, both for children and mothers.
Read more about the benefits of breast-feeding:
Breast-feeding(opens in a new window) (THL)
Having children or breast-feeding do not always influence cancer risk. It is therefore best to focus on other lifestyle means to prevent cancer.
Screening for cervical cancer and breast cancer is arranged for women in Finland.
Foreign sources and information:
Breastfeeding, European Code Against Cancer, IARC
Hormones and Cancer, Cancer Research UK